The inhibition of phenolic biosynthesis in damaged and undamaged birch foliage and its effect on insect herbivores
1. The leaves of Betula pendula Roth trees were damaged artificially, or by insect-grazing. Both induced an increase in phenolic levels in damaged leaves, larger in the case of insect attack.-2. Some of the damaged trees were sprayed with an inhibitor of phenolic biosynthesis, (aminoxy) acetic acid, which led to a reduction in phenolic levels in both undamaged and damaged leaves. Hence both the effects of damage per se and damage-induced changes in foliage phenolic levels on insect feeding preference could be examined using this technique.-3. Herbivore feeding preferences were assessed in the laboratory by comparing damaged and undamaged leaves, with or without phenolic inhibition, using caterpillars of a natural birch feeder, Apocheima pilosaria D. & S. (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) and a non-birch feeder, Spodoptera littoralis Boisduval (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Neither species showed any significant preferences and appeared indifferent to damage, irrespective of whether the trees had their damage-induced phenolic synthesis blocked.-4. The implications of these results for “induced defense” theory are discussed.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics